Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have spent the past dozen years or so working in independent film. I wrote and directed Night of the Snakehead Fish in 2002. It is pretty low budget, but has gained something of a cult following. After that, I spent time in theater and writing scripts that were too complicated (i.e. expensive) to film. When I got the idea that became The Check Out, I decided to try it out as a novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Check Out is about a group of despicable people who work at a failing grocery store. They each get themselves caught in desperate situations, and decide to steal $10,000 from the store on the same night. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go so well for some of them.
I had worked in a grocery store, and spent a lot of time coming up with crazy scenarios in my head to keep myself entertained. Those ideas eventually came together as The Check Out.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I spend a long time putting the pieces together in my head before I type a word. For example, the novel I am currently working on has been stewing for almost 2 years. Once I get going, though, it tends to all come out very quickly.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love Carl Hiassen. He is great at mingling outlandish plots with grounded protagonists. His books are always entertaining and genuinely exciting.
What are you working on now?
I am putting the finishing touches on a short that I directed called “Stacked Deck.” It’s a film noir about a man who racks up gambling debts that he can’t pay.
I have also just started writing my next novel. It’s too early to talk about it, but I’m very excited.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I developed a good relationship with the local bookstore here, and they have been very wonderful to me. I have also looked for other opportunities to sell my book. There’s a store in an arts district that sells locally made goods. I got The Check Out in there before Christmas, and sold some copies that way. There are too many of us out there to just rely on places like Amazon. You’ve got to be willing to come up with interesting alternatives.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Hire an editor, get a professional cover, and do your research. It’s all about having the best possible product you can and focusing your resources on places that will yield the greatest returns. Get on places like Kboards and see what other authors have had success with.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I just finished a book on ebook marketing that shows you how to fine tune the details of your listing to achieve the best possible sales. It was a really good insight on how the minutia can make a large difference.
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Shining and Doctor Sleep. I’m about halfway through All The President’s Men. After that, I have a book on the Black Panthers that I am going to start.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have just begun writing my next novel. I am very excited about it. While I’m doing that, I am taking time to do another advertising push on The Check Out. You have to keep reminding people that you’re out there!
What is your favorite book of all time?
I have no idea. I’m terrible at having favorites of anything. I like anything that has memorable characters and a unique story. I either want to be moved or just get a great experience.